It Started on March 15th by Monisha Varadan

whale sighting

It started on 15th March – the day we planned to set sail. I woke up at 5am, excited about our journey and keen to say last goodbyes. The crew spent the morning packing up, stashing away things that could roll around, cleaning up the common areas, grabbing the last slice of cold pizza before we clambered up on to the deck to watch as the Sea Dragon was unfastened from the docks, the mooring lines thrown on board and the captain at the helm motoring his way out of the parking lot.

We were on our way to Hawaii! Only a few minutes outside Cabo, we had our first encounter with whales! Snorting through their blow holes and diving in and out of the ocean, the poor creatures were being chased by camera hugging tourists. A few tacks and jibes later, the enthusiasm levels dipped mildly as people started feeling sea sick. The few on deck stayed on deck, and the people below deck fought hard to keep it all down. My first dinner on board is all a bit hazy as I returned to my bed in the hope of feeling better. The rest had a fairly unpalatable meal as the adventurous chef (me) tipped a whole box of mexican chilly into the pasta sauce!

The 2am watch, our second since our departure, was uneventful. The boat was cruising along at high speeds on auto pilot and I had my first magical introduction to sailing in the night. The skies were overcast, we could see straight out into the dark horizon and blobs of flourescence were skimming along the surface beside us.

Clocking out at 6am, exhausted after 4 hours, the Chunder crew tumbled into bed. The winds favoured us on Day 2.Sea Dragon continued cruising along at 8 – 10 knots. Sea sickness all around as bodies started getting used to the journey. Lunch and dinner were the hardest but chocolate biscuits and tang kept us going. Come 6pm we took on our next watch which started with a talk and a few videos by Dave – an introduction to Expedition1000.